Old Venice Island Gets a Makeover

The longtime neglected Recreation Center at Venice Island in Manayunk will finally get its $46 million extreme makeover next week.  The complicated three phase project will span over the next two years, removing the current rec-center, playground and swimming pool.  The Philadelphia Water Department will install a four million-gallon underground storm-water basin, known as "The Big Tank".  A first of its kind performing arts center will be constructed with a 250-seat amphitheater dressed in light wood paneling, and restoration will be focused on the athletic courts and play areas.

Next week, workers will begin dismantling and removing the playground equipment, basketball nets and hockey court, with demolition of the rec-center building scheduled for Aug. 29.  Temporary parking on the Cotton Street side of the site will be compete in December, as machines begin digging out the 400-foot long, 75 feet-wide, 25-foot deep underground retention pool on the Lock Street side of the 2.2-acre site.  The retention basin will catch and temporarily store diverted storm flow from the sanitary sewer running along the Manayunk Canal.  By April of 2013, the basin will have parking above it, and a water pumping station building with a green roof.

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